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Online Registered Nurse Degrees

What Is a Registered Nurse?

Registered nurses, or RNs, treat and educate patients, provide advice and support to patients' families, record medical histories and symptoms, perform diagnostic tests, analyze results, operate medical machinery, administer treatment and medications, and help with patient follow-up.

Nurses specialize in a specific area. They can focus on a certain disease like cancer, a certain organ or body system such as the heart or lungs, a specific setting the emergency room or physician's office, or a certain area of the population such as children or the elderly.

What Training or Degree Does a Registered Nurse Need?

You must graduate from an accredited program and obtain a license in order to practice nursing. This requires passing a national exam called the NCLEX-RN exam. However, your training prior to this exam can vary. You may decide among a bachelor's of science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma course. Most often a registered nurse will start with an ADN, and may pursue a more advanced training program later. A BSN does offer greater advancement opportunities and options, but it also takes longer and costs more. If you do wish to obtain a master's or doctoral degree someday, then you will need your BSN first.

Career Outlook and Salary Ranges

Registered nurses should have the second largest number of new jobs among all occupations, signifying excellent job opportunities for everyone in this field no matter their specialty. This also means that, to attract applicants, nurses may be offered signing bonuses, family-friendly work schedules, and subsidized training.

Based on a survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary earned by an RN in 2009 was $63,750. The range of salaries for RNs was quite considerable, from $43,970 to $93,700 per year.

Factors Affecting the RN Salary

There are multiple factors that affect where an RN's salary falls on the pay scale.

  • Education: RNs have a variety of degrees, such as an associate degree in nursing (ADN), bachelor's of science in nursing (BSN), or a diploma. Additionally, RNs may hold master's of science in nursing degree (MSN), or one of several types of doctoral degrees. RNs with more education are likely to hold the more advanced positions.
  • Industry: RNs working for employment services made the most, while those working in nursing homes made the least.
  • Level of Career Advancement: Entry-level staff RNs make a salary towards the low end of the pay scale, while RNs in senior-level management jobs make towards the high end of the pay scale.
  • Length of Experience: As in other careers, those workers with the most experience are likely to earn higher salaries.

Thus, working in the right industry, holding an advanced degree, and having considerable work experience can earn an RN a salary towards the high end of the pay scale.

Registered Nurse Schools

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An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession. Our competency-based curriculum delivers foundational knowledge and real-world skills, so what you’re learning is immediately applicable to your career. Right now, more than 36,000 students are expanding their opportunities with Capella programs.

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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
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Saint Mary's University of Minnesota's Online Master's Programs

At Saint Mary's, we take pride in offering online graduate degrees designed to complement the schedules of working adults like you. Get an affordable, convenient education from a top-ranked university that's grounded in real-world applications.

Saint Mary's University's long history of innovation in education continues with the launch of our new iPad® application, allowing for learning on the go. Our commitment to our Lasallian Catholic tradition of continuous learning, ethics and advancing the common good also endures.

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  • Ranked among the 2015 Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.
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  • For the 12th consecutive year, Cal U was named one for the best schools in the Northeast by The Princeton Review 
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  • Quality Online courses at Cal U have the same objectives, content and learning outcomes as campus-based programs and are taught by the same expert professors.
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  • Education programs include BA in Education Studies, BA in Child Development, and MA in Education.
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  • Earn your Bachelor of Science of Healthcare Management degree online
  • South University brings over 115 years of achievement and tradition to a supportive, online classroom
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  • Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
  • Colangelo College of Business: Features more than 25 programs from the bachelor through the master's level, including several high-demand MBA programs and an accelerated accounting degree.
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  • Offers special tuition pricing for Veterans, Active Duty Military and spouses/qualifying dependents of all Active Duty, National Guard and Reserves.
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  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
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  • Features a competency-based MBA program that allows students to test out of subjects based on prior professional experience.
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  • Has students attend one four-week class at a time and take their final exam before moving on to their next class.
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  • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
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  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
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